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Cruise or drive? Summer heat makes this decision harder each passing year

By John Toth The Bulletin

We were ready to take the big plunge - two and a half days of driving each way.

We were going to do it last year, but at the last minute decided to exchange all that driving for a shorter destination. We’ll do it next year, we said as we walked on the sandy beaches of South Padre Island.

Next year came. We made the plans again. We’ll stop for a night in Roswell, New Mexico, and see what that alien craze is all about. We booked a room in a historic downtown hotel, not far from all the alien action.

I was about to book a room in Durango, Colorado, when I received a promotional Carnival Cruise Lines email. I have been getting a lot of these since we cruised on Carnival last August.

The phony low prices they had in the ad were for cruises booking from Florida ports. If you’re a serious cruiser, move to Florida, preferably Miami. That’s where the big cruising action is.

Those promotional prices quickly inflate, but they draw you in. I have given up a long time ago booking a 5-night cruise for $299 a person. It doesn’t exist, no matter what the ad says.

I’m just going to look at Carnival’s schedule, I told myself. There is nothing wrong with looking.

We're still driving to Durango this year, hoping to get out of this sweltering heat for a few days, I told myself again.

And there it was. The perfect dates, the perfect number of nights, the almost-perfect destinations (because we have been to one of the ports before in the Western Caribbean).

The price was somewhat higher than $299 per person - way somewhat - but that was to be expected.

“How long will we be on the road in sweltering heat if we drive to Durango?” I asked Sharon, my partner and travel editor.

“Four days,” she said.

How long would we spend in Durango, or in the area?” I asked again.

“Maybe three days,” she said.

So, we would drive five days, including four days in around 100 degrees to spend three days in Colorado. We could fly, but every time I turn around, someone we know has been left stranded by a canceled or delayed flight. That’s not a solution.

“Do you really want to do that - drive that long?”

“I thought you did,” Sharon said.

I did want to see that part of Colorado, but the thought of driving four of the five days in heat worse than in Angleton started to turn me off to the Durango excursion.

Ten minutes later.

We exchanged five days of driving with driving for a little more than an hour. Then we’ll board a big ship.

Yes, dear reader, we chickened out again. I know it’s pretty up there, but it’s also pretty in the Caribbean. I also know that it’s cooler in Colorado than in Angleton or any part of the Caribbean. But the ship’s air conditioning is also cool.

Soon I’ll be filing my reports on this excursion, to fill you in on all the engrossing happenings surrounding us as we explore yet another ship and ports.

As I said before, it’s hard to beat checking into a hotel that includes food and entertainment, then takes us to several vacation spots where we can spend money on T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and photos that are promptly deposited in a drawer upon our return.

I’ll probably also lose another $20 in the slot machines trying to win the $10,000 grand prize.

About Durango, Colorado - we’ll do it next year.


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